Although summer is typically a fairly slow time for Google Apps updates, we still noticed a lot of changes across the board during August. Whether it was a major product release (Google Classroom) or minor improvements (Hangouts), the Google Apps team certainly didn’t take the summer off!
In case you missed some of the updates (maybe you were on vacation!), you can find 7 of our favorites listed below.
1. Customize the styling of tables in Google Docs
If you use tables in Google Docs, you know that they haven’t always been the easiest tool to use. A recent update to Docs finally makes it a lot easier to customize the styling of your tables, allowing you to highlight information in certain cells. Specifically, this update allows you to change the border color, width and style of specific cells rather than the entire table.
2. Classroom rolls out to Google Apps for EDU domains
We covered Classroom a few months ago (you can see the intro video above), but this August it finally made it’s way to GAFE domains. Classroom is the first Google Apps tool designed exclusively for educators, and we can’t wait to see where Google takes it from here.
3 Adding trendlines to charts and 4. Copy / Paste charts in Google Sheets
With Google Sheets, you can store data and visualize it with great looking charts, but you haven’t really been able to quickly identify trends in that data. That changed this August when Google finally introduced trendlines to charts in Google Sheets.
Trendlines are really easy to add to a chart and there are plenty of customization options available. You can apply a linear or exponential trendline, change the color and adjust the thickness and opacity.
As a bonus update, Google has also added the ability to copy / paste charts inside of Google Sheets. You can copy / paste from one sheet or spreadsheet to another, but the data will only be updated if it is in the same spreadsheet. Otherwise your chart will only reflect the data as it was originally copied.
5. Quickly find available contacts in Google Hangouts
Chatting inside of Gmail was completely redesigned with the introduction of Google Hangouts. We love Hangouts, but until now a few features were missing that made it hard to quickly find available contacts.
The latest update to Hangouts in Gmail creates a new ‘Hangouts Contacts’ tab to sort your contacts into available and unavailable. Both sets of contacts are now sorted alphabetically, making it a lot more intuitive to find whoever you need to chat with.
6. Add Hangouts to Google Calendar events
An update made it’s way in August to Google Apps domains on the scheduled release track, adding the ability to join a Hangout directly from a Google Calendar event. Hangouts, especially when tied with Calendars, is a great way to visually collaborate with people inside and outside your domain.
This new feature gives you the ability to add, remove and edit the title of video calls right inside a Calendar event. There is also granular controls for Admins in the Admin Console, allowing you to add / remove this feature for your entire domain or specific OUs.
7. New Google Slides for iOS app brings even more Microsoft Office integration
Google has made a strong push over the last several months to bring more integration between Docs, Sheets and Slides and Microsoft Office files. While Slides has somewhat lagged behind Docs and Sheets, that is no longer the case with the brand-new Slides app for iOS.
Google has often preached that they want you to be able to work on any file, with any device, anywhere in the world with Google Drive. This update allows you to manage all of your Google presentations on your iPhone or iPad, as well as open, create and edit Powerpoint presentations.
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